I heard this statement at a conference this past fall and it caught my attention. Most of the time we think of the “front door” and the “back door” of the church. The front door is usually the place people enter that visit on Sunday. Some like it and stay. Others come and go. No real connection is made. The back door is the way people leave. They leave through inactivity, transfer of membership and death. We have often heard people say that as Baptists, we need to be better at opening the front door (getting new people) and closing the back door (get people connected so they will not become inactive or move their membership.) But the side doors open your church to the community.
Side doors bring non-members to the place where they can develop meaningful relationships with people in the church. That is best done through affinity groups. Affinity groups are people with certain commonalities. Some examples are: a golf club ministry, target shooting ministry, miniature race car ministry. On and on we could go. People like to do what they like to do. And they enjoy doing those things with like-minded people. Ministries through side doors are things your people like to do and are doing anyway. They are simply doing things they are passionate about to reach others with the Gospel and bring them into the church. There is almost no activity so secular that it cannot be used to create a side door into your church.
Great Commission Resource Centers were designed to help you as a pastor, help your members to become a dream incubator. Then encourage them to use their dream for the glory of God to reach out into a world of darkness and become a shining light. As their dream becomes a reality, the side doors of ministry, opening the door to ministry in and through the church.